American Pastor Saeed Abedini—a U.S. citizen imprisoned for his Christian faith—has written a heartbreaking letter from his prison cell.
He talks about both the difficulty of spending Christmas trapped in a cold dark prison cell and how his faith in Christ is carrying him through this difficult time.
These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass, making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile. Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.
But he also wrote what Christmas means to him in the midst of this turmoil:
Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy. …
The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life.
The letter was sent to a family member. It was just last week that a relative was able to visit him, the first time a family member has been able to visit him in well over a month. He remains in need of medical care, suffering from increased pain from internal injuries sustained as a result of multiple prison beatings throughout the course of more than two years in a harsh Iranian prison.
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SOURCE: American Center for Law and Justice